Home > Music > Gargoyle – Aratama (1992)

Gargoyle – Aratama (1992)

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Now, Gargoyle predates Sigh by quite a bit, but on Aratama, they nonetheless Sigh up their sound in a similar fashion. While generally similar to their previous works in a way that Sigh can’t really claim, Gargoyle incorporates a greater variety of influences and even occasionally bursts into standard J-rock for a bit. I guess it’s a mark of overall musical ability that this band can not only perform in so many styles, but even manages to make their pop songs stand out amongst the highlights.

Despite expanding their sound, Gargoyle still relies mostly on their power/thrash roots here. There aren’t any tracks as skullcrushing as the blast fest that was “Djirenma” on Furebumi, but the musicians approach that point on multiple occasions. Furthermore, this album has the interesting distinction of becoming more violent and thrashy as it progresses for whatever reason. I’m not going to question the logic behind this approach, because it ultimately has little to do with this album’s quality. Most of that comes down to strong instrumentation and musicianship; Gargoyle’s specific subgenre blend lends itself well to adding melodic and even hooky content to their chosen intensity of metal.

Building off what I’ve mentioned before, I’d guess that Gargoyle’s greatest strength is not that they’re good metal songwriters (although they certainly are), but that they’re good pop songwriters. Admittedly, good pop songwriting is hard to quantify, but Gargoyle has put out Motorhead quantities of consistent work for some years, and managed to keep it distinctive without any huge stylistic changes that I’m aware of. Despite what the content of this blog might lead you to believe, I consider most of the metal out there to be firmly in the popular music camp; it might not sell as well as the handclap and sidechain producers out there, but 40-50+ years of constantly increasing distortion and aggression have attuned the public to some really noisy, lawn-wilting sounds. Gargoyle isn’t that crazy even by 1992 standards, but listening to some of the standard J-Rock type songs here has helped open up my mind to the musical similarities between those and Gargoyle’s primary metal output. Sure, the metal is more ornate and often more complex, but Gargoyle uses a lot of the same musical language in both.

I don’t think I’d put Aratama above Furebumi, but then again I’m not sure I’d put anything by Gargoyle above that classic (with the possible exception of Kaikoroku, an EP of rerecordings from Gargoyle’s earliest days). I would still highly recommend it, and it’s a logical place to continue your inquiry into this band.

Highlights: “Shin Ou”, “Open Sesame”, “Cogito Ergosum”, “Dogma”

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  1. 2016/04/18 at 19:04

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